In a recent article on this blog, a list of the most addictive drugs was included. Heroin and cocaine were listed as the top two drugs that create the greatest dependency. Perhaps that alone indicates why these drugs are so dangerous. Even a one-time experience can be so alluring that you’re tempted to continue again and again. And with each continued use of either heroin or cocaine, the brain rewires itself, the body wants more of it, and the psychological dependency gets stronger and stronger.
Perhaps the dangers of each of these drugs are well known, or at the very least, they have a reputation for being dangerous and that anyone should stay away from them, if you can. But then why do people end up using them? Why do men and women get hooked on such drugs?
Certainly, it’s the high that’s the bait. It’s the kind of high that makes any sexual experience pale in comparison. Heroin has been labeled the most addictive drug in the world. Its high includes feelings of euphoria, warmth, safety, pleasure, and even joy. For many reasons, the high of heroin along with its severe withdrawal symptoms will easily keep someone in the prison of heroin use for many years. As mentioned in the article that listed the top ten most addictive drugs, heroin has a dependence rating of 2.89.
At the same time, the high of cocaine is not all that different. The intoxication of ingesting cocaine includes feeling very alert, excited, powerful, and happy. Some users of cocaine describe its euphoria as equivalent to orgasm. However, the euphoria of being high on cocaine can also bring feelings of suspicion and paranoia. In fact, after awhile the high might produce anxious feelings, compulsive behaviors, and flashes of light or hallucinations. Cocaine has a dependence rating of 2.82.
Another factor that plays a role in why people end up using these drugs, despite knowing their extreme dangers, is its low cost. In fact, heroin is less expensive than the popular use of alcohol. Because heroin is so inexpensive, it makes it attractive to those who are looking for a way to escape or feel better, if they’re feeling anxious, depressed, lost, or confused. The low cost makes heroin accessible to wide groups of people.
And prices are relatively low for cocaine as well. One site indicates that cocaine ranges from about $30 to $300 per gram in the United States. According to a recent article in Slate magazine, the price for a gram of cocaine went down to $140 in 2007, which is an 80% decrease from its cost in 1982. Among other factors, the drug’s increased production combined with a lower demand has caused its price to drop significantly.
However, despite the cheaper high, cocaine has significant effects on the brain and it is particularly addictive, more so than any other amphetamine. According a recent study, the time it takes to go from experimentation to weekly use of the drug is less than 3 months. The significant changes that occur in the brain are likely responsible for the rapid path towards addiction.
The low cost and euphoric high of both these drugs lead to the use of them despite their dangers. And the high dependency of the drug catches people in the prison of addiction. Yet, even though the addictive quality of both heroin and cocaine are quite high, it’s still quite possible to end an addiction to them. With the right support, treatment, and commitment to get sober, it’s been done by thousands, if not millions of people before.
If you’ve been captured by the spell of heroin or cocaine and you’re ready to put an end to your substance use, contact a mental health professional today.
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